Thursday, December 7, 2023
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Treasure Planet Review

For those that know me, they also know of my disdain for entertainment. More specifically, my lack of appreciation and care for Disney. Princesses losing slippers, animals ruling everything as far as the eye can see, it didn’t appeal to me back then, and it most certainly doesn’t appeal to me now. I’m too jaded and old and set in my horribly pessimistic ways to find any light or silver lining in Disney’s products now, I’m too old for that stuff, outgrowing it long before I’d even watched it. I enjoy being up on this pedestal, flinging rotting fruit and shade at those of you out there who enjoy Disney, but I feel we may be united in our acceptance of Treasure Planet, and the good it did for a genre stuck between a rock and a hard place.  

Adapting to the era of early 3D animation, Disney offers up a tremendously solid piece that utilises the benefits of new technology, whilst also bringing a charm that even I’d be hard-pressed to ignore. The blend of hand-drawn animation and the barging inevitabilities of CGI gel well together, a sign of things to come for the hard workers of the animated genre. Whilst it may have consistent interest in its style, there’s much to be desired from its story. A tale of adventure that falls prey to the cliché of the time, with ready-made product characters popping right out of their action figure boxes and onto the screen.  

Treasure Planet offers up friendly banter and lovely animation, all of it coming together well under a rather simple story of adventure in search of a McGuffin that’ll save the day once and for all. Emma Thompson has a lovely supporting performance in this, her vocal style and range fits the animated genre so superbly well. It’s a shame she’s not utilised more in this one, but she serves her purpose well. The rest of the cast fare similarly, forgettable performances but relatively good work that will entertain. They’ll do nothing more than that, though, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brian Murray making for solid enough leads. Unfortunately, there’s much to be desired, moments that could be fixed with some efficient or engaged writing.  

A clear passion project, the charms directors Ron Clements and John Musker bring to the table is clear from the first few seconds. A huge world full of rich history, incredible characters, and a style of animation that makes me nostalgic for the films I did grow up with. There are moments that feel horribly dated, namely the score and montage style, but for the most part, Treasure Planet does a good job of being a solid, light-hearted flick. An expansion of Treasure Island, but expanding it in the only positive way possible, to throw us into the exceptionally vast expanse of space travel. There are worse ways to inject life into age-old stories, and I can’t help but commend this unique Disney project. 

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Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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